Town of Ghent, NY
Columbia County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 9-21-2000 by L.L. No. 3-2000]
The purpose of this article is to set forth regulations and guidelines for the design and placement of signs in the Town of Ghent. Such regulations and guidelines are meant to help maintain the attractive appearance of the Town and to avoid conditions of clutter and unsightliness by controlling the location, size, number, design, and lighting of signs. The specific purposes of this article are to:
A. 
Preserve public health, safety, and welfare by controlling the size, location, and character of signs, so they will not confuse or distract motorists or obstruct vision necessary for traffic safety.
B. 
Maintain community character and protect property values, thereby encouraging present and future economic growth.
C. 
Prevent negative impacts on adjoining/adjacent properties.
D. 
Establish enforcement protocols for the Town of Ghent Zoning Enforcement Officer concerning signs.
No permanent sign may be erected or installed without first obtaining a permit from the Town Building Inspector or Zoning Enforcement Officer. The Town Board shall establish a fee schedule for all sign permits.
A. 
No blinking, flashing, animated or rotating signs are allowed on any property in the Town of Ghent. No posters, pennants, ribbons, streamers, spinners or similar moving or fluttering devices are allowed on any property in the Town of Ghent.
B. 
Billboards are prohibited on all property in the Town of Ghent.
C. 
No signs shall interrupt a roofline or be placed on the roof of a structure.
D. 
Portable signs (including, but not limited to, signs mounted on wheels) are prohibited.
E. 
The lighting of a sign may not result in light shining directly on or resulting in glare directed toward any adjacent property, or onto any public roadway or right-of-way.
F. 
Signs shall not be placed on fences, or vehicles, except for a temporary "For Sale" sign.
G. 
No red or green lighting for a sign shall be allowed within 75 feet of any intersection involving a public roadway.
H. 
Signs shall be located so as not to constitute a visual hazard to traffic, either by blocking sight lines or causing undue distraction to motorists.
I. 
The size of a sign shall be determined by measuring a rectangle around any letters, numbers or illustrations on the sign, along with the area of any distinct background encompassing the letters, numbers, or illustrations.
J. 
No sign may be located so as to detract from or obstruct public view of an historic building.
K. 
Signs shall be properly installed to avoid any health and safety hazard that might result from unsafe placement or unsafe or insecure construction or installation.
L. 
No sign may be located within the legal maximum right-of-way width of any roadway; no sign may be located within 10 feet of any other adjacent property line.
M. 
No sign is authorized in connection with a use that is in violation of or has not been legally permitted under any of the provisions of the Zoning Law.
N. 
Signs or lettering attached to outside walls may not be extended more than one foot from the face of the wall.
If the Zoning Enforcement Officer finds that any sign is unsafe or insecure, or is otherwise a danger to the public, he shall give written notice to the owner, lessee, and/or occupant of the land on which the sign is erected. The owner, lessee, or occupant shall at his or her own expense remove or repair the sign. If the sign is not removed or repaired within seven days of the notice, the Zoning Enforcement Officer shall revoke any permit for such sign, and may remove the sign, assessing all costs and expenses incurred against the owner, lessee, or occupant. If the Zoning Enforcement Officer deems a sign to be an immediate hazard presenting imminent danger to persons or property, the notice requirement in this § 190-37D shall be shortened to one day.
Each business or facility established within a commercial, business, or industrial zone shall be allowed two signs and two signs only. Signs may be internally lit. One sign may be attached to the facade of the building and shall not exceed 60 square feet or 20% of the surface area of the facade, whichever is smaller. Such signs shall be for identification purposes only and shall not advertise any services or products for sale. Each business/facility is also allowed one ground sign. That sign may include information on products and/or services for sale. Ground signs cannot exceed 20 square feet in size in the Village Business (VB) Zone and cannot exceed 32 square feet in all other business, industrial and commercial zones, and no ground signs can be higher than 12 feet, as measured from the ground to the top of the sign. No signs are allowed within 50 feet of an abutting residential district.
Unless otherwise expressly set forth herein, all legally permitted uses in residential districts are allowed one sign. The sign can only bear the name of the business or profession and/or the name of the proprietor. Such signs may not advertise products or services for sale. Such signs can be no larger than six square feet and may be placed on the wall of a residence/business structure or in the yard, provided that the sign is set back at least 10 feet from the front property line and at least 25 feet from all other property lines. No sign in a residential district shall be higher than eight feet off the ground, as measured to the top of the sign.
Churches and other religious gathering places are allowed one announcement sign, not larger than 12 square feet. Such sign must be set back at least 10 feet from the front property line and 25 feet from all other property lines, and can be no higher than eight feet off the ground, as measured to the top of the sign.
One identification sign no larger than 32 square feet in area is allowed, provided that such sign is set back at least 50 feet from the edge of any public roadway. It may not be illuminated.
Real estate and construction signs must be set back from front property lines at least 10 feet. Such signs shall be limited to a maximum of eight square feet, except in subdivisions where signs may be a maximum of 32 square feet. Real estate "For Sale" signs shall be considered temporary signs and do not require a sign permit.
Signs used in connection with agriculture shall have a maximum area of 32 square feet. Agricultural signs may be illuminated, but such illumination must comply with the requirements set forth in this article.
To encourage design excellence, the maximum sign sizes specified in this article may be increased to the percentages listed below. A separate increase is granted for compliance with each of the criteria, and the total is cumulative. Sign bonuses do not apply to signs in windows. Sign sizes may increase as follows:
A. 
Fifteen percent, if the sign is made of wood, high-density urethane foam or medex (cast wood product).
B. 
Twenty percent, if the sign is not illuminated.
A. 
Signs legally existing prior to the effective date of this article (September 21, 2000) that do not conform to the provisions of this Article VIII must be removed in the following circumstances:
(1) 
Where there is a change of use for the property upon which the sign is located; or
(2) 
Where the sign has been removed.
B. 
In either of these events, no replacement sign is authorized unless such replacement sign conforms to all of the provisions of these sign regulations.
Temporary signs as defined by this Zoning Law (§ 190-2, Definitions and word use) do not require a permit, but are subject to all of the regulations set forth in this article.
In addition to the requirements set forth in this article and also in § 190-2, Definitions and word use, regarding temporary signs, the following rules apply for certain specific temporary signs:
A. 
All political signs must be removed within 10 days following the election.
B. 
There may be no more than two temporary signs on any one lot.
C. 
Signs for yard sales or garage sales that are legal pursuant to the provisions of this Zoning Law may not be placed on any lot prior to seven days before the sale and must be removed no more than seven days after the sale.
D. 
One temporary promotional banner or poster, not exceeding 16 square feet in size, may be located on nonresidential property and shall be considered as a temporary sign.
A. 
Holiday lighting in season shall not be subject to these sign regulations, provided that same is temporary. Such temporary holiday lighting may be placed on all or part of a building, such as a gable, roof, wall, side, or corner.
B. 
The provisions of this article shall not apply to safety signs, road signs, municipal signs, historic markers, or highway directional signs that are erected by municipal or public agencies.
C. 
The provisions of this article shall not apply to the American flag or the New York State flag. The provisions of this article also shall not apply to any flags used at a residence for decorative purposes only.